Opioid addiction and the opioid crisis continue to impact millions across our nation. Opioid addiction in America has not only devastated families and communities, it also plagues the United States by taking approximately 175 lives per day. In October of 2016, President Trump declared the opioid epidemic a national public health emergency under Federal Law.
This declaration enabled the following to occur:
- Taking appropriate action to respond to the public health emergency including making grants
- Entering into contracts
- Conducting and supporting investigations into the cause, treatment, or prevention of the disease or disorder.
Later in March 2017, the President’s Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and The Opioid Crisis was formed. For anyone who has not somehow been touched first-hand by the opioid epidemic, the reason for such actions may be unclear. However, with a little information about the history of opioid addiction in the United States and the ongoing opioid addiction crisis, it becomes clear.
The History of Opioid Addiction in the United States
The opioid epidemic is like no other drug problem our nation has ever faced. The problem started in the 1990s when medical professionals began to prescribe opioid painkillers to treat pain. Unbeknownst to many at that time, the medications were highly addictive. And in fact, many maintain that the pharmaceutical companies knew otherwise but continued to tell medical professionals these prescription opioids like hydrocodone, oxymorphone, morphine, codeine, and fentanyl were not only non-addictive but safe for the patient. Sadly, this couldn’t be further from the truth.
Not only did this overwhelming prescription of opioids to patients begin to fuel what’s now an epidemic at the same time pharmaceutical companies’ marketing heavily promoted these opioid painkillers to the medical community. The results? America became the world leader in opioid prescriptions and now has more deaths each year (64,000 in 2016) from opioids for adults under the age of 50 than from car accidents, guns, or HIV/AIDS ever has in one single year. To make it even clearer, this one-year rate of death from opioids is a higher death toll than the Unites States’ military had in both the Vietnam and Iraq wars combined.
The opioid crisis in America is serious. And while the impacts can be seen and felt in every state, there are regions of the United States which are being hit the hardest with the Southwest and Appalachia region leading the way in deaths from overdose. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) illustrates this with an opioid addiction map which shows both overdose rates by state from 2014 through 2018 and U.S. overdose change rates by state from 2015 through 2018.
The President’s Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and The Opioid Crisis set forth recommendations in order to bring these numbers down. It is possible to stop the opioid crisis; it takes each person to play their part.
One of the main recommendations is to remove barriers to treatment. In the United States, it can be sometimes easier to get drugs, such as opioids, than it is to get into or find nearby affordable treatment for opioid addiction or addiction to alcohol or another drug. It was also recommended to work on non-addictive treatments for pain.
If you or someone you love is struggling with an addiction to an opioid, prescription or illicit, there is hope. Many who have lived in the pain and despair of opioid addiction have sought help and found they can recover from addiction. You or your loved one can too.
Pinnacle Treatment Centers helps people addicted to prescription or illicit opioids find their path to recovery every day. Remember, when it comes to addiction, no matter how bleak life may look, there is help and hope for you or your loved one. It all starts with finding the courage to take the first step. Contact Pinnacle today and we’ll support you or your loved one every step of the way.
Headquartered in New Jersey, Pinnacle Treatment Centers is a recognized leader in comprehensive drug and alcohol addiction treatment serving more than 29,000 patients daily in California, Indiana, Kentucky, New Jersey, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Virginia. With more than 110 community-based locations, Pinnacle provides a full continuum of quality care for adult men and women which includes medically-monitored detoxification/withdrawal management, inpatient/residential treatment, partial hospitalization/care, sober living, intensive and general outpatient programming, and medication-assisted treatment (MAT) for opioid use disorder.